Capable of inducing tears of goofy dad joy and simultaneous guffaws of derision, Cobra Kai returns for its fifth season this week, daring us to unsubscribe to daggy old Netflix.
As we settle in for more soap operatic violence in the valley, we may ponder how the pioneering streaming service is itself beginning to resemble the nostalgia-hungry demographic for which Cobra Kai resonated so strongly when it first aired all the way back in those heady days of 2018.
Just like the parents of 2022 - who would've been waddling around in their credulous, fluoro pre-teens when The Karate Kid came out in 1984 - Netflix remains full of perfectly sage content, it's just that the children of today are too cool (and too bereft of attention spans) to sit down and take it in.
Leaking subscribers all over the joint, indignant Netflix is showing its age (25, which is about 97 in internet years) and its desperation by going down the path of introducing advertising to its once pristine platform.
The ads will reportedly be rolled out later this year on a bargain-basement option and, like a pile of vegetables pushed to the side of a plate, will be "unskippable".
Once, when someone whispered "unskippable", they were referring to the thick line of jute being spun at dangerous velocity by a couple of hefty Year 6 girls in the playground at recess, now the term represents something far more sinister for young people.
But a rung of cheap and nasty Netflix annoying us with car commercials is still worth the price of admission if it means we have access to dumb (ie pure genius) and fun Cobra Kai.
When it first began, the (YouTube Red) series tapped into that suspicion we all harboured during the run of the original Karate Kid franchise, that being Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is a bit of a douchebag.
Without Mr Miyagi's regime of ego-sapping torture, we (and Elisabeth Shue, who'd dumped him by The Karate Kid II) knew Daniel-san was capable of going off the rails, and this nascent obnoxiousness came to full-blown fruition when we caught up with him some 30 years later to discover he'd become a wealthy car salesman (of a type who would jump at the chance to flood a flagging streaming service with homemade ads).
The yin to Daniel's yang is Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), the blond, all-American bully who grew up to become an irrelevant, Gen-X alcoholic, never really able to get over the fact he once got beaten in a karate tournament by a whiny wimp imitating a waterfowl.
The idea that Johnny had in fact been hard-done-by and could be viewed as a sympathetic character was first flagged in comedy series How I Met Your Mother, and this complexity became the driving narrative (and the source of genuine laughs) for the clever Karate Kid reboot.
For the past four seasons, Cobra Kai has explored issues of class and status, familial allegiances, youth mental health and even real estate. It's never taken itself too seriously and, fully aware of the acting abilities of its cast, never asked anything more of the audience than to check our worries and brain cells at the dojo door each time we settle down (with the entire family) for a viewing.
As is the case with this week's return, Cobra Kai has been able to tap into a long line of vaudevillian villains comprising actors only too willing to make a return to paid employment. The best of them has always been Martin Kove's sadistic and sleeveless sensei John Kreese. It's a testament to 76-year-old Kove's acting chops he can still come across as something approaching threatening considering he appears to be so frail in real life he must be propped up with an unseen pole every time he hobbles into shot.
Along with the wonderfully hammy cast is the wonderfully stupid violence. So popular is martial arts in San Fernando Valley, it's not uncommon for a trip to the mall to descend into a hand-to-hand epic involving up to 300 highly (and quickly) trained teenage combatants.
This is where Cobra Kai conjures the best of 1980s good vs evil stand-offs - it's the final round in Rocky IV; Rob Lowe has thrown his gloves to the ice in Youngblood, Patrick Swayze just snatched a piece of meat out of that creepy guy's throat in Road House (he deserved it).
May Cobra Kai - and even Netflix - never die.
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